The Photoreal Subbuteo Club

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Chapter 1

"In the beginning, the world was without table football, and void and darkness reigned.

Then William L. Keeling did create New Footy in 1929.

And the Spirit of William L. Keeling moved upon the surface of the table, and figures were formed upon curved bases.

And there was Table Football…

And Peter Adolph saw the New Footy, and saw that it was good: And Peter Adolph did invent Subbuteo.

And Peter Adolph said, Let there be a green cloth for which to play Subbuteo upon: and it was so.

And Peter Adolph said, Let Subbuteo bring forth the Flat figure, to curl upon the green cloth: and it was so. And Peter Adolph saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

And there was evening and the morning.

Lo, in 1969, Peter Adolph sold the rights of Subbuteo to Waddingtons. Waddingtons, begat Hasbro, and in 2005, Hasbro did create flat photorealistic card-style figures.

A few years earlier, God did create Adam Lundy and Adam Kilgallon. Adam and Adam did play a game using the Photoreal figures. The game was without goals, and the evening and the morning saw both Adams crowned as the "Disputed Photoreal Subbuteo Champions of the World."

This is the story of the oft despised and downtrodden Photoreal Subbuteo figures.

When they were produced, according to Subbuteo guru, Peter Upton the figures received a lot of criticism from the table soccer community, most notably from existing players - moaning chiefly about playability. They fail to aid shooting and chipping, and cannot be used for long accurate glides, and lack the softer touch when reaching the ball. Comments have also been made about how cheap the product looks.

These comments were borne out when Table Football Monthly reviewed the figures. After a forlorn session, an exasperated Keith Littler explains: "The playing figures are total rubbish!... if you want to play it, particularly if you want to play against somebody, I'm afraid it is misery on a table - It's joyless!"

So, this is the story of the unpopular underdog, loved by no-one and misunderstood by everyone...

The experiments...

The Friends of Old Subbuteo committed to trying the Photoreal Figures out, in practice, in friendly games in the Old Sods OldSubbuteo Club and the Rochford and Southend Casual Subbuteo Club, where they faired creditably, with a mix of inspired success and dismal failure.

They were also given a run-out in the more competitive TSPA circuit, where the 13th place out of 13 entries was not to be unexpected. However, even in this reputable company, the Photoreal figures were not without promise. It became clear that while the figure were challenging to play with, they have special gifts, and with love and care, they are a joy to play with.

The clips below show some of the unique moves they can make (some legal and others less so!)

The Corner
The 'Lean and Nod'
The Jump Shot
The Penalty Curl
The Double Team
The 4 Player Block
The Volley from the Corner
The Spin Pass
The Spin Pen
The Power Shot
The Long Curl
The Move
Trying some expansive play
More expansive play...
The swerve shot
8 out of 10 shots that expressed a preference ended up in the net!
To get a tight curl, the player has to head-butt the ground! 😄
A move on-the-fly foiled by the keeper! 😫
More on-the-fly action (with an 'illegal' picking up of a player), which means this goal will be disallowed! 😫
The 'Over The Shoulder' Shot
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